Human beings began taking part in agricultural activities around 12000 years ago. In this process many plants were domesticated in the following years. When storage of food became the norm, special focus was made on the food with greater shelf life. Grains with greater shelf life met their expectations best and sooner these cereals and grains became a significant part of their cuisine.
After studying teeth of ancient people it has been found that they chewed grains at the outset. It was around 6700 BC that humans first succeeded in removing the outer bran and germ from the inner digestible core. In other words it is said that people first started making flour from the grains during this time. Primitive pestle and mortars followed by simple mill stones were the first tools used for making flour.
Romans were believed to be the first on earth who ground grains on cone mills. Donkeys and other animals began to replace humans in turning the main mill stone during this time. Water power was harnessed for the first time in the first century BC there and Ancient Greeks were supposed to be using these watermills before 71 BC.
This technology moved to other places with time as well. Working as a source of livelihood it evolved differently at different places for millennia. With the evolution of this water powered machine it got different names at different places. In India also, it flourished rampantly and people in the Himalayan and Sub-Himalayan regions people followed this trend as well. It worked as a source of livelihood for them for many years.
In Paddar also this machine filled the stomach of many. One can easily find the relics of Ghirat in Paddar. Some are in desolated condition while others are in good condition and working. With time the importance of these traditional machines are declining, thanks to the indifferent attitude of people, government and low economic importance of these due to their old primitive design.
Components of Ghirat in Paddar:
Ghirats are very simplistic hydro-powered machines composed mainly of many wooden parts viz. Changhoil, Chaut, Twarkin, Pathol etc. Our ancient people have designed these parts with great dexterity. Today in this write-up we shall explore all the facets of this machine and know about the local names of the components along with their functions. Here are these:
- Changhoil– It looks like a wooden jar installed mainly for the storage of grains. There is a small hole at the bottom of it from where grains pass on to the next protruding pipe attached to it.
- Chaut– This small wooden pipe like structure attached to the Changhoil takes grains from it and delivers these to the hole of a larger stone below for grinding.
- Twarkin– This is a small wooden pin like structure. Its one part is fixed to the Changoil and Chaut system and other loosely touches with the main rotating stone. When the stone rotates this pin like structure rubs against the rough surface of it. This friction produces vibration in the system and ends up regulating the flow of grains from the wooden pipe to the hole.
- Banjar– Controlling instrument of Twarkin is called Banjar in local dialect.
- Pathol– The massive stone which rotates due to the mechanical energy of water is called Pathol.
- Sheyl– Pathol rotates on this big stone called Sheyl in the local dialect. It provides base to the main gyrating stone.
- Shaand- Shand is the name of the axel attached to Pathol.
- Taai- It is the Base of the grinding stone or in other words the space between the Pathol and Sheyl is called Taai in the local language.
- Ghirood– This is the main component of Ghirat. It is a drum like part to which many flakes of wood are attached. Water falls on these flakes through the external pipe and this turbine like structure starts rotating. Shaand attached to it rotates Pathol and Ghirat starts its function.
- Atolh– It is that unit of Pathol which controls it by adjusting its spin. By controlling this one can alter the physicality of the flour.
- Nighaar- After smooth grinding flour emerges from the opening to the base for collection. That opening from where flour emerges after thorough crushing is called Nighaar.
- Tlau- It is a name given to the broom which is used to collect flour from the surroundings.
- Naai- Water pipe which carries water from the river or brook is called Naai in the local dialect.
- Badaar- This is of prime importance. It is a name of lever used for Atolh purpose.
- Muaan- Main water supply point is called Muaan in Paddri.
- Chhotyail- It is a wooden slate like structure that is used for the regulation of water supply.
- Kunda/Makunda- It is that component of Ghirat on which Girood rotates. It is made of made of Bronze which prevents maximum wearing and tearing and hence facilitates the smooth rotation of Ghirood.
- Aair- These are the names of tools used for the repairing of Ghirat components.
- Shoshkair- It is a big rectangular spoon like structure which is used for collecting flour.
- Zhanghot- It is a base on which Kunda/Makunda is fixed and on which Ghirod revolves.
Power Generation through Ghirats in Paddar?
A little bit of innovation in these eco-friendly Ghirats can work wonders for Paddar and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. If we succeed in generating electricity from these machines with simple alterations in their structure, we can change the society of Paddar and UT in multiple ways. Many small industries will sprang up around these machines. There are many such structures in the UT today. Uttrakhand and many other states are using this technology profusely to meet their demands.
For more information on the power generation through Ghirats you can click on this photo below:
It is therefore our request to the concerned Ministry of Power & Development and authorities to please taking this issue staidly so that we can go great guns in this sector and provide employment opportunities to our people. These Ghirats which were the main source of employment in the past can be revived only if we staple economic importance with these in this era and if other states can do that with strenuous efforts so can we. NGOs can play a vital role in this regard. If we really want to bring change in our Paddar and in our area we all must head towards this direction.